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Strengthening the biokinetics workforce for improved services: A human resources for health review from 2000 to 2020

R. Tiwari
HW Grobbelaar
C . Vermaak
U. Chikte


Background: Biokinetics is a South African (SA) health profession within the private health care sector. Biokineticists register with the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA).

Objectives: To describe the demographic trends of HPCSA registered biokineticists from 2000 to 2020 to understand the supply and  status of human resources for health within the profession.

Methods: The following data were collected and analysed: i) health  personnel category, ii) geographical location, iii) age, iv) sex, and v) population category.

Results: The number of HPCSA registered  biokineticists grew from 136 in 2000, to 1831 in January 2020 (67.8% women, 32.2% men). There was a sharp decline in numbers after the  age of 45 years. The Western Cape (5.8) and Gauteng (5.1) provinces had the most biokineticists per 100 000 of the population, whilst  smaller provinces like Kwazulu-Natal (1.6), Mpumalanga (1.6), North-West (1.6) and Limpopo (0.9) lagged. The demographic profile of  registered Biokineticists changed steadily from 2000 to 2020. Registered biokineticists classified as White decreased from 91.6% to 80.4%,  whilst substantial increases were observed among Black (5.0% to 8.3%), Coloured (0.02% to 5.3%) and Indian/Asian (0.02% to 6.0%)  biokineticists. Thirteen tertiary institutions offered Biokinetics programmes in 2022. Seven offered the 3+1-year (Honours) programme  and six have migrated to a 4-year professional degree.

Conclusion: The profession is well established, growing, and dominated by  women. The demographic profile has transformed steadily; however, the need to transform the profession remains strong.  Strengthening investments aimed at the employment of biokineticists in the public health sector may serve as a key turning point for  healthcare workforce planning. 

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2078-516X
print ISSN: 1015-5163